Neither Sun Nor Slush Slows Marquette

February 26, 2018

By Keith Dunlap
Special for Second Half

BOYNE FALLS – Nothing else has stopped the Marquette boys ski team from dominating the state the past five years

So Mother Nature did its best Monday at the MHSAA Division 1 Finals.

However, not even unseasonable conditions slowed down the Redmen.

For the sixth straight year, Marquette finished the season as a champion in boys skiing following another dominant performance on a warm day at Boyne Mountain that wreaked havoc on a field not used to such mild and slushy conditions for a Finals meet.

Marquette finished with 56 points to once again best Traverse City Central, which was the runner-up for the fifth straight year with 80.5 points.

Rochester Adams/Stoney Creek’s combined team was third with 124.5 points, White Lake Lakeland was fourth with 153 and Brighton took fifth with 158.5 points.

Marquette coach Dan Menze said conditions were firm for the morning runs, but he had to tell his team to use caution when the warmth and sun softened the courses up considerably in the afternoon.

“Definitely in the afternoon, I had to let them know to be soft on their edges,” Menze said. “No hard pressures because as soon as you do in the soft stuff it’s going to eat you up. But they’ve had the opportunity the last couple of weeks in training to see different snow types, so they were a little used to it.”

Marquette started the day by dominating the morning slalom run, taking the top three places in that event.

Aaron Grzelak won with time of 57.96, Andrew Thomas was second at 58.97 and Hayden Kauppila came in third at 1:00.57.

James Wenzloff of Lakeland was fourth with a time of 1:00.64, and Max Wiedemann of Clarkston was fifth at 1:01.56.

Marquette wasn’t quite as dominant in the giant slalom when the afternoon arrived, but it was still good enough to score plenty of points.

Thomas was second at 1:05.17, Grzelak was fourth at 1:06.89 and Kauppila finished fifth with a time of 1:07.22.

Of the bunch, the only senior is Thomas, and he leaves with MHSAA team titles for every year of his high school career.

“It was surreal when we won the first one,” Thomas said. “Before you know it, I’m already a senior. I just got really lucky to be on teams that had awesome skiers every year.”

Nick Rupert of Rockford won the individual championship in the giant slalom with a time of 1:04.67, while Wenzloff took third with a time of 1:06.42.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Marquette's Aaron Grzelak races toward a first-place finish in slalom Monday. (Middle) Rockford's Nick Rupert cuts through a turn during the giant slalom. (Click for more from

Galbraith Sets Pace as Petoskey Continues Magnificent Finals Run

By Jordan Puente
Special for

February 27, 2024

HARBOR SPRINGS — The Petoskey boys ski team remains in a class of its own.

Petoskey crushed the slopes at Nub’s Nob in Harbor Springs on Monday by collecting its fifth-straight Division 2 championship with a combined score of 68 points. Monday’s title run marks the program’s 12th D2 title in 13 years, and the Northmen show no signs of slowing down.

Coach Ben Crockett credited his entire coaching staff and parents for the team’s success since he began guiding the Northmen in 2019.

“The boys came together after a Regional event where we had some strong competition,” Crockett said. “When they realized it was a foregone conclusion they were going to win another state championship, they rallied and came together to execute a plan.”

Houghton’s Eli Heathman speeds down the hill on the way to winning the giant slalom.With Petoskey coming in first place, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s finished runner-up (102), and Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (134) finished third. Great North Alpine placed fourth (134), and Harbor Springs finished fifth with a team score of 155.

Northmen junior Gavin Galbraith finished with an individual title in the slalom and third-place finish in giant slalom.

Galbraith finished the slalom with a combined time of 1:08.53 and the giant slalom with a combined time of 50.85. Teammates Taylor Keiswetter and McClure Galbraith placed in the top 10 in the giant slalom.

Keiswetter finished fifth with a combined time of 50.98, and McClure placed eighth with a combined time of 52.21.

"It's great that all of my hard work has paid off this season. Thanks to all my coaches and the Nub's Nob staff," Gavin said.

Gavin’s journey to get to where he is today started freshman year when he was named the 16th skier on the varsity roster. After waiting for his turn, he didn't shy away from the moment.

Last season, Galbraith watched the Northmen capture the team title, and the junior sensation was motivated to continue that streak Monday.

"All my coaches and family have been pushing me to keep this streak going," he said. "If we didn't win today, it would've been a bummer. But we tried our best, and that's all that matters."

Houghton’s Eli Heathman won the giant slalom with a combined time of 50.09, followed by Cadillac’s Brady Koenig in 50.74 and Galbraith in third. Gaylord’s Keaton Abraham was fourth (50.96) and Pontiac Notre Dame Prep’s CJ Studt was fifth (50.98).

Onekama’s Braydon Sorenson finished runner-up in the slalom with a combined time of 1:09.07, East Grand Rapids' Quinn Irwin finished third (1:09.42), Harbor Springs’ Jackson Deegan finished fourth with a combined time of 1:10.10, and St. Mary’s Pierson Kuhn finished fifth with a combined time of 1:10.93.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Petoskey’s Gavin Galbraith races to the Division 2 slalom championship Monday. (Middle) Houghton’s Eli Heathman speeds down the hill on the way to winning the giant slalom. (Photos by Sarah Shepherd. Click for all photos.)